SBD/November 30, 2012/Franchises

Browns' Haslam Denies Involvement With Univ. Of Tennessee Coaching Search

Haslam described the Browns' new reality show as a "softer version of Hard Knocks"
Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III said news that he was involved in the Univ. of Tennessee's attempts to hire ESPN's Jon Gruden as the school's football coach, which reportedly involved an ownership stake in the Browns, was "completely erroneous," according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Haslam: "I'm not involved with the University of Tennessee coaching search and our family is very happy with the ownership structure of the Browns." Meanwhile, Haslam is "excited about the debut of the series 'NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns,' which premiers Tuesday" on the Travel Channel. Haslam said, "It really is a behind-the-scenes look at an NFL team, everything from practice to meetings to conversations with coaches to time spent casually outside the building with players to travel." He added, "I haven't seen the final cut, but I think all football fans, particularly Browns fans, should find it very interesting. ... I've described it as a softer version of Hard Knocks." Cabot notes the show is produced in partnership with Dee Haslam's RIVR Media and NFL Films. Addressing his relationship with Browns CEO Joe Banner, Haslam said, "Joe is smart. He's seasoned. He's extremely competitive. He's got great experience and I think he and I will work extremely well together" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/30).

LEARNING ON THE FLY: Haslam said of his first season as Browns Owner, "I have a lot of takeaways, but I am far from an expert on the NFL. We have been involved (with the Browns) for three or four months. People are even more important in the NFL than a normal business like what we run because we don't have any hard assets. We don't own the stadium. We don't own the practice facility. So talent selection and getting the right person, whether it is quarterback, GM or coach -- that seems to be the Holy Triumvirate -- is just exceptionally important." SI.com's Richard Deitsch asked Haslam how "hands-on an NFL owner should be on a day-to-day basis." Haslam: "I think it all depends on the definition of hands-on. ... I just believe that collective collaborative wisdom is the best way to do things. I don't think you will see us calling plays or making personnel decisions, but strategically we are going to be involved because these businesses do not run by themselves" (SI.com, 11/29).

WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S: In Akron, Nate Ulrich notes former Browns QB Bernie Kosar has "publicly expressed a desire to work for the organization." Haslam said that he is "in contact with Kosar but hasn't formally discussed hiring him." Haslam: "We have not had any talks with Bernie involving any kind of official capacity. As you know, Bernie is a Cleveland icon. He and I talk and text frequently" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 11/30).
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